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Vaccine take up marks new milestone

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Three quarters of adults in Devon have now had their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

That’s more than 750,000 first doses given by the 23 May, and nearly half a million second doses.

But the number of people in Devon not attending their second appointments has risen in recent weeks.

A recent study by Public Health England looked at the effectiveness of the vaccines against the latest strain of the virus – the Delta strain, which was described as the Indian variant because that’s where it was first reported. It’s this strain that is spreading more easily between people.

With the first dose, both the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines offered 33 per cent protection against the latest Delta variant. But after the second dose, the protection offered by both vaccines to the new variant increased significantly. Following the second dose, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88 per cent effective against the Delta variant, while the AstraZeneca vaccine was 60 per cent effective.

“It is really important to have both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in order to have maximum protection from the virus,” said Primary Care Medical Director, Alex Degan. “If you can’t make your appointment, or have already had your second dose elsewhere, please cancel your booking to allow someone else to take your place and prevent vaccines from being wasted.”

Anyone who has already booked their second vaccine, and who is encouraged now to bring forward their second dose, will need to cancel their second vaccination on the National Booking System before re-booking it at an earlier date. There are plenty of booking slots still available.

Tina Henry, Deputy Director for Public Health Devon said:

“Positive case numbers right now in Devon remain stable, however we do expect case numbers to rise with the easing of restrictions. The vaccines are an important frontline defence to help prevent you from becoming seriously ill or requiring hospital treatment should you catch coronavirus. One dose gives you partial protection, the second dose will give you maximum protection. Please take up you second dose when invited to do so.”